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Sunday, April 05, 2020

The Twilight Saga: What is worrying Virat Kohli & Co. before day-night Test

Before India take on Bangladesh in their maiden Day/Night Test all the talk has been about the twilight period, the dew factor and the prospect of facing a pink ball in that period.

Written by Rahul Sadhu | Updated: November 22, 2019 2:20:46 am
india vs bangladesh, india vs bangladesh test, pink ball test, day night test, kolkata, eden gardens, virat kohli, wriddhiman saha, cricket news, sports news Indian players warm up during a training session ahead of their second Test match against Bangladesh in Kolkata on Wednesday. (Source: AP)

Twilight – a time of pause when nature changes her guard and you cannot, in human experience, rush into the light. You have to go through the twilight.

The same will hold true for team India when they take on Bangladesh in their maiden day/night Test in Kolkata starting on Friday. This will be the 12th match in the history of the day/night Test cricket.

But before that, all the talk has been about the pink ball and how it will behave in the twilight zone. India wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha is among the few who have experience of playing with the pink ball, but that was with a Kookaburra.

“When we played three years ago, it was with the Kookaburra ball but now it is with the SG ball. In terms of conditions there might a little bit of turn but the most challenging part will be the twilight period,” Saha said while speaking to the media on Wednesday.

“For a batsman, it will be difficult to pick the ball but we have to adjust and there is no other option. Bowlers will definitely help.”

However, what worries him more is the prospect of a discoloured pink ball against the sightscreen after sunset.

Comparing it with the experience of playing with the white ball Saha said, “Say when we play white-ball cricket there is the black background. But now we don’t know whether it will be black or white so that is a concern.”

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“In the twilight period, the ball will be old and if the background is not clear enough then not only will it be a challenge for the batsman but also for the keeper and slips. Even the fielder standing at square could face a problem while locating it,” he added.

“When the white ball gets old you still can see it as white but when the pink ball gets old we still don’t know exactly how it will behave,” Saha reminded.

“I stand near the slip fielders only. Our pacers at times deliver with a wobbly seam position. I will face the same challenge as them (slip fielders). But we have to accept the conditions offered to us. It’s the way forward,” he explained further.

Virat Kohli vs Mohammed Shami

The Indian team is leaving no stone unturned to get as much practice as possible. 48 hours before the match, skipper Virat Kohli was batting at the nets around the time dusk set in and the floodlights were in full glow.

Kohli faced Shami for quite a while and was seen talking to him at length.

Later it was the turn of Umesh Yadav to roll his arm over and bowl at Ajinkya Rahane. Moments later as Rahane went for his slip catching drills it was the turn of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja to bat under the watchful eyes of coach Ravi Shastri.

india vs bangladesh, india vs bangladesh test, pink ball test, day night test, kolkata, eden gardens, virat kohli, wriddhiman saha, cricket news, sports news Head coach Ravi Shastri keeps a close watch on proceedings. (Express Photo by Rahul Sadhu)

The area for practice pitches for pacers had a tinge of green where the Indian batsman batted during the net sessions.

It was no brainer as to what the think tank were preparing the boys for — fast bowlers letting it go at full steam and let the greenery do the talking.

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